It’s my joy in travelling to meet energetic young entrepreneurs who have been grounded by their farm experiences. Last December in Montreal I met the passionate founder of Silver Lining Limited, Carissa Reiniger, who is now 28. Carissa’s common-sense approach and SLAP system is giving a workable template to small business owners who want better cash flow and more capacity to get things done profitably.
Chicken farmers have used her system to generate more revenue and achieve their one-year wonder goals. SLAP helps folks break down their revenue streams on a unit-cost basis and honours the quarterly goals that need to be executed in order to grow revenue. Carissa believes that the whole point of being in business is to be doing what you love, profitably!
The challenge I see with young farmers is that they want to treat their farms and other enterprises like a business, but may need to focus more on working on the business revenue, expenses, action items, not just showing up for the routine daily chores or going where the next crisis is calling them.
Here’s some questions that the SLAP system asks:
Is there consistency in your revenue streams?
What is the largest driving source of revenue for you?
How much/little time are you spending on each revenue stream?
What is aggressive, reasonable and measurable for you to earn in 2011?
Farmers work hard, but they also need to work smart… on the things and systems that will generate revenue, and keep an eye on the “cash burn” of expenses.
The SLAP website at www.silverlininglimited.com is a great place to check out what the SLAP system has to offer, but be advised that you need to be generating at least $100K of revenue annually to engage.
What hit me about Carissa’s message is that small actions that are executed on a daily basis to hit quarterly targets can make a big difference. She vents and rants on paper the multitude of action items needed, and then slots 20 actionable items per month, 60 per quarter that will move her ahead to the quarterly targets, and ultimately the year’s wonder goal. I took this to heart and mapped out the quarters on a large Post-it flip chart paper on my office door. What would it look like to your business if you had action items written down, instead of mulling in your brain?
Carissa’s grandparents were farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan; her farm memories ground her. She has trained large ag corporations with her SLAP approach. She thinks farmers can be more profitable, and that the agricultural sector can grow when people take the time to put systems into place. Her software and franchise operation in Swift Current is testimony that rural areas can embrace business growth to help business owners generate more revenue and enjoy the lifestyle they chose, while doing what they love.
Here’s Carissa’s five tips for young farmers :
1. Don’t let age stop you; use your passion and “gung-ho” attitude to go for it. Carissa is 28, has high net worth, and yet has a passion to raise 52 Ugandan children to adulthood. Money to her is not the main thing, but using it for good drives her passion of helping small businesses grow.
2. Get really clear about the relationships of the family business and put things in proper roles. Talk about equity, vision, and have written agreements in place.
3. Be clear about what YOU really want, not what you “should” be doing so that you like your life and you are clear about what your role in the business is to be.
4. Figure out what you are good at and then build a team around you to fill in the gaps.
5. Innovate in agriculture and your business; be willing to “change farming up,” says Carissa. She sees huge potential for growth with the use of technology and the resource sector.
For those young farmers and entrepreneurs who want a boost of inspiration and the foundation of the SLAP process go to www.silverlininglimited.com and check out Carissa’s bookInspiring Entrepreneurs…how to build your business to its first million.
I know many of you reading this are thinking, I can’t do this, and some are thinking, I have a million in assets, I am just cash poor. Whatever your scenario, how about taking that faithful pen and paper and putting it to work? Think about what you are passionate about. Are you living the lifestyle that fulfils you? Are you working on your business to generate revenues and profits, not just showing up for work?
What difference would it make if you shut off TSN or HGTV and spent three hours every night reading, planning and visioning how you want to grow your business?
Entrepreneurial young farmers are typically honoured in the Outstanding Young Farmers Awards. Perhaps you should take them out for a “virtual lunch” or phone them for inspiration, or read their stories. Young farmers who are frustrated waiting for parents to share ownership of the farm equity might just want to prove themselves by building their own enterprises that fit the landscape of the home farm operation. The Internet offers huge potential for viral marketing, global learning, and finding out trends and needs.
Carissa cautions that the lack of capacity is a huge barrier to business growth. We need to focus and execute our plans to generate revenue. What is the next step for you to find the silver lining in the cloud of agriculture that is floating in your head?
Tell me your good news story, and let’s inspire each other to grow profitably.
“Entrepreneurs need to remember that they can create things to do what they love.” — Carissa Reiniger.
ElaineFroesehelpsfamilybusinessesgetclear aboutrolesandexpectationsforthefuture.She isamemberoftheCanadianAssociationof FarmAdvisors,andtheCanadianAssociation ofProfessionalSpeakers.Buyhernewaction guideDotheToughThingsRight…howto preventcommunicationdisastersinfamily business,at www.elainefroese.com orcall 1-866-848-8311